Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book Blog Tour of Ted Dekker's The Bride Collector

Welcome to the Book Blog Tour of Ted Dekker's The Bride Collector which comes out on April 13, 2010.

The blurb:
FBI Special agent Brad Raines is facing his toughest case yet. A Denver serial killer has killed four beautiful young women, leaving a bridal veil at each crime scene, and he's picking up his pace. Unable to crack the case, Raines appeals for help from a most unusual source: residents of the Center for Wellness and Intelligence, a private psychiatric institution for mentally ill individuals whose are extraordinarily gifted.

It's there that he meets Paradise, a young woman who witnessed her father murder her family and barely escaped his hand. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Paradise may also have an extrasensory gift: the ability to experience the final moments of a person's life when she touches the dead body.

In a desperate attempt to find the killer, Raines enlists Paradise's help. In an effort to win her trust, he befriends this strange young woman and begins to see in her qualities that most 'sane people' sorely lack. Gradually, he starts to question whether sanity resides outside the hospital walls...or inside.

As the Bride Collector picks up the pace-and volume-of his gruesome crucifixions, the case becomes even more personal to Raines when his friend and colleague, a beautiful young forensic psychologist, becomes the Bride Collector's next target.

The FBI believes that the killer plans to murder seven women. Can Paradise help before it's too late?

Ted Dekker's The Bride Collector introduces us to Special Agent Brad Raines who is tracking a highly intelligent, mentally unstable, and seemingly untraceable serial killer. But beyond the fast-paced action, the violence, and plot twists of a good detective thriller, Ted Dekker adds an element of humor and humanizes schizophrenia and mental illness through the characters of the Center of Wellness and Intelligence and through the personal history of our lead character, Brad Raines.

Although Special Agent Brad Raines is attractive, intelligent, and strong like many of the usual lead characters in detective thrillers, Raines doesn't come across like the usual witty and invincible lead. Raines suffered a heavy loss in his personal life and hasn't been able to fully recover. His loss makes Raines better able to empathize and understand the insecurities and thought processes of the people around him from the patients at the Center to the serial killer they're calling the Bride Collector. It also makes Raines more interesting than your usual lead detective. If you're looking for a fast-paced and unconventional detective thriller, check out The Bride Collector.

ISBN-10: 1599951967 - Hardcover $24.99
Publisher: Center Street (April 13, 2010), 448 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Ted Dekker is a New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels with a total of more than 3 million books in print. He is known for thrillers that combine adrenaline-laced plots with incredible confrontations between good and evil. Learn more about him at Ted Dekker's website at You can follow Ted Dekker on Facebook at

Thank you to Miriam and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Book Blog Tour of Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee & giveaway

Welcome to the Book Blog Tour of Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee organized by Anna and Hatchette Book Group! The first in a new and engrossing series of several beautiful sisters living in Ireland during tumultuous 18th century.

Countess of Scandal (The Daughters of Erin)
The blurb:
As children, Eliza Blacknall and William Denton ran wild over the fields of southern Ireland and swore they would be friends forever. Then fate took Will away to England while Eliza stayed behind to become a proper Irish countess.

Years later, Will finally makes his way home - as an English soldier went to crush the Irish uprising. When he spies the lovely Eliza, he is captivated by the passionate woman she has become. But Eliza's passions have led her to join the Irish rebel cause, and Will and Eliza now find themselves on opposite sides of a dangerous conflict.

When Ireland explodes in bloody rebellion, Will's regiment is ordered to the front lines, and he is forced to choose between duty to the English king and his love for Eliza and their Irish homeland.

Countess of Scandal is a historical romance set in Ireland during a period of political upheaval. The rebellion against Britain brings out Countess Eliza Mont Clair's idealism and nationalism and adds tension and excitement to the plot. I hadn't read anything that captures this time in Irish history and enjoyed this aspect of the book.

I found the love story thoroughly engaging as well. Countess Eliza Mont Clair is daring, smart, and strong willed, and when she comes across Major Denton, we're immediately aware that their old attraction hasn't faded. Major Denton is honorable, thoroughly in love with Eliza, and faces some difficult choices. While Eliza and William are on different sides of the rebellion, they learn to balance their love for each other with the loyalty that they owe to Ireland and the Crown. Countess of Scandal is romantic, fun, and satisfying!

Countess of Scandal also lays the foundation for another love story - that of Eliza's sister, Lady Anna Blacknall and the mysterious Duke of Adair. I"m looking forward to the next in the series, Duchess of Sin.

ISBN-10: 0446544787 - Mass Market Paperback $6.99
Publisher: Forever; Original edition (February 1, 2010), 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Laurel McKee lives in Oklahoma with a menagerie of two cats, a Pug, and a bossy miniature poodle, and loves dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network-even though she doesn't cook. Learn more at Laurel McKee's website at

Listen to an interview with the author Laurel McKee.


To enter, tell us if you enjoy historical fiction. If so, please share which period you particularly enjoy reading about or a time period that you'd like to learn about. If you don't like historical fiction, what period of history or historical figures do you enjoy reading about?

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on March 15, 2010.

Thank you so much to Danielle and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!

Friday 56: Week 33

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends at
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Here's mine:

To set the hook, I shook my head. "I'm not so sure that I want to shoot against you. That was yesterday. No, better that I-"

"The woman and the Kristiano sword, Black Shell." His grin widened. "Surely your blessed bow won't let you lose. Or was that just the silly tale that I thought it was."

- Coming of the Storm by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear

Book Review of Catch of a Lifetime by Judi Fennell

Catch of a Lifetime (Tritone Trilogy, #3)
The blurb:
She's on a mission to save the planet...Mermaid Angel Tritone has been researching humans from afar, hoping to find a way to convince them to stop polluting. When she jumps into a boat to escape a shark attack, it's her chance to pursue her mission, but she has to keep her identity a total secret...

When he finds out what she really is, they're both in mortal danger...
For Logan Hardington, finding a beautiful woman on his boat is surely not a problem - until he discovers she's a mermaid, and suddenly his life is on the line...

Catch of a Lifetime is the third in Judi Fennell's series with the Mer. I liked this one best of all, largely because of Angel Tritone. This time, the woman in the romance is the Mer and she's organized, powerful, and caring.

Her mission of improving Mer-Human relations to reduce pollution makes sense and it's interesting to read her reactions to life on land. Her fascination with the "girly things" like fabrics and all sorts of clothes that aren't waterlogged is pretty funny as well. Her love interest Logan is also likable as he struggles with suddenly becoming a single parent and trying to win the child's affection.

Overall, Catch of a Lifetime is a fun, light romantic read with a twist of the unusual.

ISBN-10: 1402224281-Paperback $6.99
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)384 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of Amazon:

Judi Fennell has had her nose in a book and her head in some celestial realm all her life, including those early years when her mom would exhort her to "get outside!" instead of watching Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie on television. So she did--right into Dad's hammock with her Nancy Drew books.

These days she's more likely to have her nose in her laptop and her head (and the rest of her body) at her favorite bookstore, but she's still reading, whether it be her latest manuscript or friends' books.

A three-time finalist in online contests, Judi has enjoyed the reader feedback she's received and would love to hear what you think about her Mer series. Check out her website for excerpts, reviews, contests and pictures from reader and writer conferences, as well as the chance to "dive in" to her stories.

Thank you to Judi Fennell, Danielle, and SourceBooks for this review opportunity!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Barnes & Noble's Teen First Look Selection: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall is the latest Barnes & Noble Teen First Look Selection and the online discussion is currently underway. If you haven't tried Barnes & Noble's First Look Book Clubs, I recommend them. Not only does Barnes & Noble send the book everywhere internationally for free, but they arrange for the author, publisher and author's agent to answer questions online which makes for interesting discussions on the book, the author's writing process, and the process of getting the book to market. Once I hear about another First Look Book Club, I'll post the details!

Before I Fall The blurb:
What if you had only one day to live?
What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samatha Kingston has it all - looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it's her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she relives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

This incandescent page-turner from twenty-six year old debut author Lauren Oliver will leave readers breathless.

Before I Fall
was my first Teen First Look selection, I usually participate in the regular First Look selections. Knowing that the book was chosen for teens/young adults made me read the book a little more carefully, particularly since the book touches on high school life and the casual cruelty and bullying that goes on.

Before I Fall
is told from the point of view of Sam, one of the popular girls in the high school, and it captures the events and actions of her last day of life. The book also describes parts of high school that I hadn't thought of in years (and had blocked out?) - the casual cruelty of young girls.

As I read about Sam's last day of life and the way that she dies, I couldn't help but imbue an additional level of expectation and meaning to her actions and thoughts. As Sam realizes that she wakes up and has a chance to correct the mistakes of the day before, she goes beyond trying to avoid hurting people and tries to make things better. Her choices show another side of Sam and ended up growing very attached to her character.

I thoroughly enjoyed Before I Fall. I think that it captures what it's like to be in high school with the uncertainty, compressed situations, and social pressure. But then, like a good book, Before I Fall takes us far beyond regular high school life to some exceptional characters and their adventures. Before I Fall is heartwarming, heartbreaking, and thoroughly satisfying. I plan to share this with my many nieces and some old high school friends.

ISBN-10: 006172680X - $17.99
Publisher: HarperCollins (March 2, 2010), 480 pages.
Review copy provided by Barnes & Noble First Look Book Club.